May 2021

Australia’s Electricity Infrastructure Undermined by $1 Billion Per Year Under Investment

The resilience of Australia’s electricity infrastructure is being undermined by a chronic pattern of underinvestment in maintenance and upkeep, the result of rent-seeking by private electricity producers and a deeply flawed regulatory system. That is the conclusion of a detailed review of empirical and qualitative data on the transmission and distribution system contained in a

The government’s embrace of ‘clean hydrogen’ helps no one but the fossil fuel industry

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

Nothing captures prime minister Scott Morrison’s approach to climate change better than his embrace of “clean hydrogen” – a BS marketing term that delivers nothing but obfuscation and helps no one but the fossil fuel industry. Tellingly, this approach isn’t even new: Morrison has simply dusted off an old polluter playbook and changed a few

Federal budget 2021: What will Treasurer Josh Frydenberg deliver?

by Ebony Bennett in Canberra Times

Last year, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg delivered what was described as a “Bloke’s Budget”, that targeted stimulus spending in male-heavy industries, while neglecting investment in industries that support women’s employment-including healthcare, education and social services – even though women bore the brunt of last year’s recession. But the fact is every budget is biased towards men

April 2021

Polling: Majority of Tasmanians Want Pause of Tasmanian Salmon Farm Expansion

New research from the Australia Institute Tasmania finds most Tasmanians (63%) want to suspend the expansion of salmon farms in Tasmania, expressing widespread (63.5%) concern that the health of Tasmania’s coastal waters is declining. More than one in two (56.3%) Tasmanians agree the Tasmanian Government is not doing enough to protect the health of our oceans.

25 Organisations Open Letter: Victoria EV Tax Worst EV Policy in the World

An unlikely group of 25 companies and organisations, including car manufacturers, auto groups, electrical infrastructure companies and environmental groups have come together to publish an open letter to the Victorian parliament calling on them to vote against Victoria’s regressive electric vehicles tax. The letter, which appears as a full-page advertisement in The Age, highlights that

How can NSW allow new coalmines while committing to net zero emissions? It’s bizarre

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

New mines won’t boost world demand for Australian coal — but they will cannibalise jobs from existing coalmines The New South Wales government is simultaneously committed to a net-zero emissions target for 2050 at the same time as new coalmines in the Hunter Valley with the capacity to produce 10 times more coal than Adani’s

Why we should pause approvals of new coal mines

featuring Ebony Bennett and Richard Denniss

Why are new coal mines like melting ice cream? In today’s episode, Richard Denniss explains the economics of coal, why Malcolm Turnbull has been in trouble with the Liberals and why we need to pause approvals of new coal mines. Host: Ebony Bennett, deputy director, the Australia Institute // @ebony_bennett Guest: Richard Denniss, chief economist,

Upper Hunter Polling: Majority of Voters Agree with Turnbull Call for Moratorium on New Coal Mines

The majority of voters (57.4%) in the NSW state seat of Upper Hunter support former PM Malcolm Turnbull’s call for a moratorium on new coal mine approvals and a remediation plan for existing mines for the Hunter Valley. The Australia Institute surveyed a nationally representative sample of 686 residents in the NSW state seat of

We should be funding stress leave and high-quality PTSD care for all victims of abuse

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

Australian ministers suffering stress are provided with more taxpayer support than victims of violence Practical support for the thousands of Australian women who are sexually or physically assaulted by men is not simply woefully inadequate, it is nonexistent. If you are a casually employed woman in Australia who is raped or assaulted you are entitled

Is Malcolm Turnbull the only Liberal who understands economics and climate science – or the only one who’ll talk about it?

by Richard Denniss in The Conversation

Yesterday, former Liberal prime minister Malcolm Turnbull was unceremoniously dumped as chair of the New South Wales government’s climate advisory board, just a week after being offered the role. His crime? He questioned the wisdom of building new coal mines when the existing ones are already floundering. No-one would suggest building new hotels in Cairns to help

Right now we’re choosing not to solve our biggest problems

by Ebony Bennett in The Canberra Times

It’s incredible what can happen in a year. This time last year Australia was heading into lockdowns and recession. The Treasurer was still sipping on his “Back in Black” mug and clinging to the idea that any stimulus spending would be small, targeted and temporary, and hundreds of thousands of Australians were still recovering from

March 2021

What women want

featuring Ebony Bennett and Eliza Littleton

When it comes to addressing the systemic issues which are impacting Australian women’s everyday lives, it often feels like the problems are big and impossible to tackle. In today’s episode, Australia Institute research economist Eliza Littleton outlines 8 practical things that Prime Minister Scott Morrison could do right now to remove barriers to women’s equality

Removing JobKeeper isn’t a ‘Bump’ to Unemployment, it’s a Shoulder Charge

Revelations at Senate estimates this morning that Treasury believe the scrapping of JobKeeper will result in 100,000 to 150,000 jobs being lost provide a chilling warning to Australia’s unemployed and to all businesses that sell products to Australian consumers. “It is staggering to believe the Government would even consider implementing a policy change that would

Roderick Campbell writes: Recommending approval of a mine based on economic assessment that not only lost in court, but lost in court against you, is a new level of crazy

by Rod Campbell in The Newcastle Herald

What would happen in your industry if a judge described someone’s methodology as “inflated”, “lacking evidentiary foundation” and “plainly wrong”? If your industry would stop using that methodology, then you probably are not an economist and you don’t work for coal companies. Exactly this happened in 2019 and, with no change and no reflection, the

The crisis in aged care and why we need to talk about revenue

featuring Ebony Bennett and Matt Grudnoff

The findings of the Aged Care Royal Commission are shocking but not surprising. Among the recommendations is the call for an effective 1% increase in the Medicare levy, or a new Medicare-style Aged Care levy which could be applied progressively based on income, to create the revenue required to fund an aged care system with

February 2021

New Analysis: Countries with Higher Unemployment Payments Have Lower Jobless Rates

New analysis from the Australia Institute shows Australia’s unemployment rate is worse than that of most OECD countries. In fact, this analysis shows that across the OECD, it is higher unemployment payments (the ‘net replacement rate of unemployment’) that correlate with lower unemployment rates. The Government and commentators have long argued that Australia’s internationally low

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